Seijiro Matsuoka was born the third of three brothers on January 8, 1894 in Tsukiji, Tokyo.
His father was a rice dealer.
After graduating from Tokyo Shogyo high school, he joined the Yazawa Shouten trading company in Ginza in 1912. In 1917, he established his own trading firm, Matsuoka Shouten.
His business interests were wide-ranging, including cold-storage, hotels and real estate, preparatory schools and more.
He passed away on March 20, 1988 at the age of 95.
“People forget the dead no matter how great he or she was.
On the other hand, classic artworks remain for eternity.
So it is my dream to have the public enjoy all that I have collected.”
When Matsuoka was 80 years old, he decided to share his grand collections with the public. In 1975, he founded the Matsuoka Museum of Art in Shinbashi, Tokyo. As his collections continued to expand, he planned to build a larger museum in nearby Ryogoku. However, he passed away before fulfilling this dream.
His family members decided to build a new museum at the site of his residence in Shirokanedai in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. Matsuoka was very fond of his home, which he often likened to Hakone. “This house is surrounded by nature. I can see big birds. Autumn is especially nice".
The Matsuoka Museum of Art in Shirokane opened its doors in April 2000.
- You will notice that, in place of security guards, security cameras are installed in all exhibition rooms. We want our visitors to enjoy their experience at the museum without the prying eyes of live guards. We appreciate your consideration and thoughtfulness.
- Feel free to take photographs without flash or sound that annoy others. You may also draw the works you enjoy, provided that you refrain from using drawing utensils other than pencils. Ink may cause irreparable damage to the works.
In the Roman period, the “Orient” represented the east side of the sunrise.
In this room, our permanent collection includes an anthropoid coffin and stone figures of ancient Egypt. We will also hold temporary exhibitions of cultural artifacts from such areas as ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, and Persia in the display cases.
Seijiro Matsuoka dreamed of creating an open-air museum where families could enjoy themselves on lawns surrounded by large works of art. With this in mind, he purchased bronze sculptures by Bourdelle and Moore. Although he passed away before realizing his dream, these sculptures finally found their places in peace through the opening of the new museum.
Matsuoka was less interested in Buddha statues from Japan than sculptures from other parts of Asia. In this room, we exhibit Bodhisattva and Buddha statues of Gandhara (in present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan), where the world's first Buddha statue was made. Also on display are sensual statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in conjunction with statues from ancient China and the Khmer Empire.
When you go out Exit No.1 from Shirokanedai station, turn left and go straight.
Cross at the pedestrian crossing of Shirokanedai's intersection.
Go straight for a while, walking on the left side of the Gaien-West street.
You’ll see the building covered with green glass on the left.
You can see the information sign by the path next to the building.